As Kamden’s two month birthday anniversary approaches, I suppose it’s time to share his birth story and photographs. I debated whether or not I would write this because it’s so difficult to find words that describe the rawness of welcoming your child to the world. Simply put, Kamden’s first breath took mine away. One of the best decisions I made before his delivery date was hiring a birth photographer. I’m grateful to Whitney (W.Rhea Photography) for being in the delivery room and capturing Kamden’s arrival. Her photos document 12-19-2013 perfectly.
For weeks leading up to Kamden’s arrival, and after touring the hospital’s maternity floor, I psyched myself into thinking that every possible thing would go wrong. I had mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, my experience didn’t happen as I anticipated. Instead, it happened like I had hoped. Sure there was discomfort and pressure and weird feelings down there but modern medicine is spectacular and epidurals are awesome!
From the time we checked in to Labor & Delivery until Kamden was born was 10 hours and 20 minutes. Husband and I arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 5:00am for my scheduled induction. The room was ready and all I had to do was sign some paperwork and change into a hospital gown. A nurse took vitals, started an IV, and the Pitocin began dropping by 6:00am. The hurry up and wait game had begun. Husband made a few phone calls and my parents, who were staying at our house, arrived shortly after. I’ll never be able to explain what it meant to have my Mom and Dad at the hospital when their only grandchild was born.
Dr. W broke my water at 8:30am. That was the weirdest sensation ever! The amount of Pitocin was also increased and she explained my contractions would begin to get stronger. She described them as intense menstrual cramps and I reminded her (again) that I’ve never had menstrual cramps. She said, “Oh yeah, I forget you’re one of THOSE women!” Sharing this lighthearted moment was one reason I insisted on having Dr. W in the delivery room. She was also honest and forthright regarding my pain tolerance, or lack thereof. She knew I wanted an epidural and advised not waiting until the pain got too intense. She explained the L&D department was busier than normal and the anesthesiologist had a small window of time where he’d be available to perform my epidural. Turns out I wasn’t the only mama-to-be in labor that day. When we arrived, there were three patients. By noon, 11 women were in active labor and five delivered by C-section. Including Kamden, there were 10 boys and a set of twin girls born on December 19!
At 10:00am, my nurse, Deborah, prepped me for the epidural. She knew my anxiety and explained the process before the anesthesiologist arrived. As stressed as I was, I did beautifully. I sat on the edge of the bed, chin tucked to my chest, and focused on deep breaths. Deborah stood in front of me so I could lean against her and stay perfectly still. I remember her calming voice coaching me along and telling me how great I was doing. The needle prick to numb the area was the most painful part. The anesthesiologist finished and explained how the epidural worked: the medication fed through my IV and could be increased or decreased, depending on my pain level. The left side of my body took longer to numb than the right, so the nurse had me lay on my left side for 10 minutes to distribute the medication. By 11:00am, I could not feel my legs. A few minutes later, Dr. W returned to check on me. I remember her wearing blue scrubs and one of those surgical caps that covered her hair. She was on her way to the operating room to deliver a set of twin girls!
At noon, Husband’s parents and our close friends and their two children arrived. Even with the epidural, my contractions were VERY intense. I could feel the ‘rise and fall’ of my uterus contracting and relaxing. When it contracted, I had very sharp pain. Anticipating the pain, I began holding my breath until the sensation subsided. My nurse, noticing my decreased oxygen levels, quickly stepped in and told me to breath through the pain instead. Word to the wise: if you’re not breathing, your baby is not receiving oxygen!
Around 1:30pm, Dr.W instructed the nurse to prepare for labor. She had another patient in the O.R. and would deliver Kamden immediately following that C-section. The energy in the room filled with excitement and anticipation. Our friends and family headed to the waiting room while Husband and I watched the labor nurses prepare for the birth of our son. I remember someone pushing a cart with a warming table on top into the room and Husband calling it an Easy Bake Oven. We all laughed. My contractions continued and were becoming more intense. I didn’t notice it at the time, but the nurses transformed my bed into a delivery table by removing the bottom half and adding stirrups. I’m pretty sure there was a large ‘catch all’ bucket on the floor too.
At 2:30pm, at the beginning of a contraction, I pushed for the first time. I was so nervous but I was determined to get an A+ for my efforts! I kept asking the doctor and nurses if I was pushing correctly and they said I was doing really well for a first-timer. My chin was tucked into my chest, my facial expression relaxed, and I grabbed the back of my legs during each push. The nurse counted to ten real loud, but my focus was on pushing. I must’ve tuned her out because I was pushing after she stopped counting. Husband got in my face and yelled, “STOP PUSHING AND REST A SECOND!” I’d catch my breath and push again, paying close attention to Dr. W’s verbal instructions and watching her concentrate on the task at hand. When I felt pressure building in my belly, I knew a contraction was coming and it was time to push.
Husband was a ROCK STAR in the delivery room, like I knew he would be. He grew up on a ranch and experienced labor many times when calves were born. I never thought I’d compare our son’s birth to a cow delivering a calf, but I am and Husband took it all in stride! He was the perfect delivery room helper coaching, soothing, counting, and yelling PUSH! Basically, Husband was amazing.
When Dr. W yelled, “ONE MORE PUSH!” I pushed like my life depended on it. A moment later, she had a slimy grub worm in her arms. (Husband’s words, not mine!) I’ll never forget seeing Kamden for the first time. I heard his first breath. I saw his fingers and toes. He had dark hair and the cutest button nose. He was also a boy … yes, I checked to make sure! When he was placed on my chest, the world was right. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I laughed. I cried. I couldn’t hug Husband tight enough.
Time stood still. Kamden let out a few wails and whimpered as they wiped him clean. Husband cut the umbilical cord and watched the nurses measure and weigh Kamden, who cried until a nurse swaddled him. Meanwhile, I had to get one stitch to repair a small tear but it really didn’t matter in that moment. Less than 10 minutes after his birth, Kamden was placed on on my chest skin-to-skin. He began rooting towards my breast and latched on immediately. I cried tears of joy, knowing my baby had found his way to the dinner table! Kamden and I cuddled nearly an hour while Husband went to the waiting room to announce his arrival to our friends and family. To say they were excited would be the understatement of the millennium!
By 4:30pm, everyone returned to my room and were oohing-and-aahing over our sweet bundle of joy. Two hours later, we were moved from Labor & Delivery to Post-Partum Recovery. My stomach started growling (my last meal was dinner the night before) so Husband made a quick trip to Which Wich for me. At 8:30pm, I ate the best tasting turkey sandwich this side of the moon!
At 10:00pm, Husband and I took Kamden on his first adventure in the big, bright world. We walked around the nurse’s station and down the hall twice. Taking inventory on myself, I was shocked at how quickly my body recovered. I felt wonderful, energized, and ready to fulfill my new role as a mother. I thought I’d be too sore to walk, but it was nice to feel my legs and feet. I was afraid of tearing but my body cooperated and I had only a single stitch. While there was considerable amounts of blood, even days after, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. When I considered WHAT came out of me WHERE, it was a miracle!
Kamden Alan, I’m so proud to be your mama. The old saying is true and I sound like a broken record, but time goes way too quick for my liking. You are growing so fast and becoming a little man literally right in front of my eyes. I love you to the moon and back!